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Overwatch VS Paladins – Let’s End The Debate.

After many accusations that Paladins is an Overwatch clone and a rip off Hi-Rez studios reacted with a very long and detailed Reddit post. It’s titled “A Brief History of Paladins – as a response to ‘copy/clone’ allegations.” We broke that post down to talking points and decided to snoop around in order to get the facts straight and end this debate once and for all.

First of all, Hi-Rez mentions Global Agenda, a class based Shooter/MMO game.  Now just the fact that it is an MMO game will remove it from this discussion because both Paladins and Overwatch aren’t MMO games. Yes, they mentioned some weapon designs and ideas there but that can all be easily dismissed.

In Paladins (code name Chaos) pre-production, we experimented with both the Global Agenda Sci-Fi theme and the Aurum Fantasy theme. After a lot of testing, the project team decided to go with the Fantasy theme. Overwatch was announced. We were shocked and not sure what direction to take. We were already so far along with Paladins, but we didn’t want to compete directly against Blizzard. “

Again, if you are familiar with the mentioned games you will know that they are both not even close to an arena shooter so nothing to take out of that.

When talking about the hook and pull mechanic they used this video to show how many other games have the same ability and that it’s very common. Yes, we agree on that but it still doesn’t justify the fact that it looks exactly the same in Overwatch and Paladins.

Abilities in general

From the post :

  • Overwatch has about 100 abilities, Paladins has about 85 abilities so far
  • Most of the Paladin’s abilities can be found in Global Agenda, a game we made 10 years ago (some abilities are from Tribes and Smite)
  • About 42 Abilities are very similar between Overwatch and Paladins, 36 of these abilities were previously in Global Agenda or Tribes Ascend, 6 abilities were seen in Overwatch before Paladins.
  • Almost every ability in Overwatch can be found in an earlier FPS game
  • Given the popularity and marketing of Overwatch many people don’t even realize that some classes like Ruckus (Mech) were playable in Paladins before similar Overwatch class abilities were shown.

First point – You can’t compare the number of abilities because Paladins has fewer champions than Overwatch.

Second point – We have to agree on that one but they should also mention that those same abilities could be found in games that came out before Tribes, Smite and GA.

Third point – The 42 abilities mentioned are exactly the same, not similar. Yes, they were in Hi-Rez games but in a different shape, now they are reshaped to look exactly like Overwatch.

Fourth point – This claim is true but not fairly stated because the same can apply to any Hi-Rez game.

Fifth point – We have to agree on this one.

Core mechanics

  • Multiple classes
  • Ultimates per class that build up
  • Combination of Shooter with unique class abilities
  • Game modes for Payload, Capture, KotH
  • Class structure with Tanks, Support, Defense, Attack
  • Skins, Emotes
  • Account/class leveling

This shouldn’t even be mentioned. We can find these mechanics in tons of previous games so both Paladins and Overwatch can be blamed for using these same mechanics, but no one does because it’s standard in most online games today.

Here is some pre-alpha test footage for 2012 Aurum (Paladins predecessor):

Now this is an interesting part. Looking a the alpha models you can see that they look like the characters used in Paladins right now but we can’t see any abilities. Fernando’s shield was mentioned but it isn’t even close to the model shown in the pre-alpha. It’s the same with all other champions.  Yes, Hi-Rez had original ideas but instead of using those ideas they just took some abilities seen in Overwatch and implemented them into Paladins.

From a neutral point of view, we can all agree that these facts stated by Hi-Rez prove almost nothing. But also, looking at the pre-alpha Ruckus & Bolt gameplay we can even say that Blizzard stole the idea because D.Va wasn’t shown in Overwatch then.

The debate here went in the wrong direction. Why? Because the whole arena shooter idea didn’t come from Blizzard nor from Hi-Rez. From our point of view, Team Fortress was an inspiration for both of these games. Let’s not forget that Team Fortress 2 came out in 2007 and it can be used as an example. Now, 8 years later we have two arena shooters using almost the exact same concept and no one even mentions where it all started. Whoever thinks that Blizzard has some crazy original ideas is wrong. They just know how to repolish, repack and market a good idea to make it better and more profitable. On the other hand, Hi-Rez went balls deep with SMITE, creating the first third person MOBA.  It was a risk that Blizzard will never take.

All of this brings us to the following conclusions:

  • Hi-Rez did take a lot of ability ideas from Overwatch, that’s a fact. The ultimates are the only ones that are completely different (for now).
  • Overwatch is not an original concept.
  • The facts brought out by Hi-Rez prove close to nothing.
  • Bandwagon games existed before, exist now and will always exist. No one says that Hi-Rez didn’t plan Paladins before they even heard about Overwatch but the fact remains that Overwatch reshaped Paladins into its current form.

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